Here are some of the best books that have inspired me and my kids in such a way. I hope they’ll fill you to overflowing with imaginative possibilities.
BONUS IDEA: Sure, it’s nice to give gifts at the holidays, but why not surprise your favorite creative-minded friend or family member with one of these? Then, when they become the next Virginia Woolf or Jackson Pullock, maybe they’ll set aside a special autographed work for you. 🙂
8 Books to Inspire Creativity
1. What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
- For: Anyone with a dream.
- Why: To encourage sticking through the inevitable ups and downs of a dream, through touching symbolism and storytelling.
2. Make a World by Ed Emberley
- For: Anyone experimenting with or intimidated by art.
- Why: To help break down art into fun, confidence-boosting steps. And, honestly, who doesn’t want to make up their own world?!
3. Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
- For: Anyone worried about messing up.
- Why: To demonstrate the need to make mistakes—and how fun and freeing it can be.
4. Art & Max by David Wiesner
- For: Kids just starting to learn about art.
- Why: To champion the ideas of trying, trying again, doing your own thing, and that all art is subjective.
5. Mix It Up by Herve Tullet
- For: Young kids learning about colors.
- Why: To teach color mixing in an entertaining, interactive way (from the author of the equally amazing Press Here).
6. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
- For: Any kid who’s ever said, “I’m bored.”
- Why: To encourage creative brainstorming and imagination. It’s a classic for a reason.
7. Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (or really anything by Keri Smith)
- For: Anyone (from junior high, up) who could benefit from a little no-pressure creative noodling.
- Why: To spark creativity, encourage thinking outside of the box, and make every day more fun!
8. The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
- For: Adults curious about the soul of a good story.
- Why: To dig into the formula behind the world’s best creative tales—because strategy and history don’t preclude art.
Have your own favorite creativity books? Please share them in the comments below.